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    Thursday, September 7, 2017

    PWR Live: Sugod!—The Official Smark Henry Review

    (Sing with me, ladies and gentlemen)

    Sugod, mga kapatid!

    Tayo ay magsama-sama!
    Iwagayway na ang bandera!
    Risling na hanggang umaga!

    It is gooooooood to be back in the loving arms of Philippine wrestling!

    Fresh from three days of wrestling in their second APCC stint (Live results for Days 1-3 are here, here, and here), the guys and gals of PWR are at it again! And if you've been following their official social media page (which you should!), they're not done yet. Two more shows are lined up for the rest of the year, with some amazing matches awaiting us.

    Of course, read the review below to see what important developments happened this past Sunday that changed the landscape of the PWR.

    Without further ado, here's your PWR Live: Sugod! official Smark Henry Review!

    The Venue: Power Mac Center Spotlight

    This was PWR's 13th venue in its entire tenure, excluding its two provincial shows. I have to say, this has got to be the best venue they've ever had. Think of it as having what made Bayanihan Center great, then making it even better:

    • Ample parking even on a Sunday.
    • Numerous dining establishments with varying price ranges for varying tastes.
    • There's a 7-Eleven for snacks and drinks.
    • BIMB, MAY TURK'S. And the pan they use is the same as the one in Plato Wraps, so your shawarma has an added crunchy texture to it.
    • Venue is immediately accessible when you enter the mall after parking.
    • There's a dedicated restroom area in the lobby of the venue itself.
    • The air-conditioning can keep up with a full house (I'm looking at you, Foton).
    • The walls of the hall are painted black with black curtains decorating the wall. This points your full attention towards the ring.
    • Honest to goodness, the best part has to be the lighting. All your focus is set on the action in front of you. The spotlights for the title matches were an amazing touch as well. It adds an extra prestige to the titles being defended.

    "Kinapkap ko na 'yan, ser."

    Speaking of spotlights, it's only appropriate that we use spotlights for the tier ranking for the event's matches and segments. Sincereously, PWR prod team, ang ganda.

    Five Spotlights

    PWR Championship Three-Way Dance Match: Chris Panzer vs. Ralph Imabayashi vs. "Beautiful" Billy Suede (c)

    It's matches like these that really made the lighting stand out even more. From the spotlight introduction for each of the competitors in the title match down to the warm white atmosphere, it literally told the fans to put all eyes on them.

    And there I was, drinking Pocari Sweat during this exchange

    Rightfully so, too. When you have, the likes of Panzer, Imabayashi and Suede all in one ring, you're going to want to see everything clear as clear can be, from the manly chopfest between all three, the shinkick-superkick combo to Suede, the surprise Sonic Crusher ambush on a Panzershreck attempt,  counter after counter after counter... kinilig ako, bes.

    Not gonna lie, some of us would be thrilled to catch a flying Panzer

    In the end though, Rederick Mahaba pulled Imabayashi out to save him from getting pinned after a Suede shiranui, leaving Panzer and Suede to duke it out in the final moments of the match. After a sequence of feints and dodges, Panzer would hit the Panzershreck and the Eagle Splash to regain his title once again.

    If the match looked good on paper, it was definitely a sight to behold when watching live. The three men have had consistently great matches and we can be sure to expect more from them in the future. Honestly, I didn't expect the title to change hands on a PWR Live event.

    But then again, PWR has never been shy about surprising its audience. What happened after the match will likely make sense of things, and can be found in the Talking Points segment below.

    And Kap Tutan will look back on this day and think "Ralph is a dick."

    Result: Chris Panzer wins via Eagle Splash on Billy Suede (New PWR Champion)

    Four Corners Tag Team Match for the #1 Contendership of the PWR Tag Titles: Evan Carleaux & Trian Dela Torre vs. Punk Dolls (Martivo & Robynn) vs. KakaiBros (Kh3Ndrick & Mh4rckie) vs. The YOLO Twins (Yohann & Logan Ollores)

    First things first, Daddy Ollores better have a word with his children. Not having a rematch clause in their contract? It's either they didn't read it or they agreed to it in the first place. Heel arrogance is one thing, but not consulting a lawyer on hand who can spot such a glaring omission is another.

    Anyhoo. This match was fun. Plain and simple.

    Martivo wondering wtf is going on.

    There seemed to be an unspoken alliance between Trianverse and Punk Dolls as they rarely got into contact with each other. The YOLO Twins and the KakaiBros however were at each others' throats every chance they got.

    Team Katip vs. T3@m Trinoma Sky Garden

    In the melee that ensued, it would be Evan Carleaux, who had recently returned to action, who would set up Darkest Noir—a sunset flip into a basement clothesline from Dela Torre, and then locking in the Tech Noir—to make Mh4rkie tap out.

    Of all the places for it to make contact on a KakaiBro... He has to burn those shin guards now. 

    One thing to take note of, though, was Robynn. This may be a case of me reading too much into things, but one particular spot piqued my interest.

    When the Punk Dolls threw the KakaiBros into the corners, Martivo was revving up to do his signature Twerkface turnbuckle twerk. Robynn, paired up with Mh4rkie, vehemently refusing to do so, but ultimately agreeing to it with the crowd egging her on. You could see that she was not at all happy about it. When the action spilled to the outside, she was still sulking in the corner with a frown on her face.

    Twerking on a KakaiBro isn't exactly on the top of anyone's to do list.

    Could this be the start of some friction between the members of the Punk Dolls? Let's hope not.

    Hope this cheers you up, Robynn.

    Result: Evan Carleaux & Trian Dela Torre win via Darkest Noir (becomes the #1 contenders for the PWR Tag Team Championship)

    Four Spotlights

    PHX Championship Match: SANDATA vs. Mike Madrigal (c)

    This was Mike Madrigal's first test as the latest PHX champion. What better way to test his mettle than going up against the veteran SANDATA?

    This is a niiiiiice pic. Eh kupal ka nga lang.

    There are two things I can tell you right now about Mike Madrigal that don't include the term kupal: (1) He has great fan interaction, and (2) He is stroooong.

    SANDATA the vet is great at what he does, no doubt about that. What he does lack, however, is playing to the crowd. He's all business. Madrigal, however, makes it a point to constantly engage the audience. He's reacting to everything, matching even the infamous Hecklers' Row with his own quips and commentary during the match. Think Kevin Owens, just more kupal.

    The other point is that the dude is crazy strong. One point in particular was attempting to counter the Pagbasag from SANDATA into a powerbomb. He's also included a litany of drivers, suplexes kuplexes, and a sick avalanche fisherman buster into his repertoire.

    Yan ang muscle memory.

    What I also did like about this match was the attention of telling a story. Early on in the match, SANDATA focused heavily on attacking the leg of Madrigal. Later on, when Madrigal would hit the GTS, it was likely half-power at best due to the damage his leg had already received throughout the course of the match.

    Tbh, nakakatakot siya mag-smile.

    The match ended in bizarre fashion though as John Sebastian came out to distract the ref just as SANDATA had snared the PHX Champion in an ankle lock. Madrigal would take the opportunity to hit a Near Death Experience on the unsuspecting Pinoy Tecnico and retain his belt with his first signature singles victory.

    Why would John Sebastian meddle in the match? Find out in the Talking Points section below.

    Result: Mike Madrigal wins via Near Death Experience (Retains the PHX title)

    Bolt vs. Zayden Trudeau

    Here we go!

    /wrings hands in anticipation

    I have to be honest. When the matchup was announced, I wasn't exactly all that excited. It's a battle between rookies. My experience with Bolt matches have been okay at best. I had only ever been able to watch Zayden Trudeau during his PWR Live: Resbak match. But when PWR talent GrabCamus pulled over beside me and told me, "Watch closely. This is going to be good," my interest was piqued.

    I'm a sucker for the German suplex. Deadlift German suplex? Now you're just making me giddy.

    Bolt has always been one of the scrawnier wrestlers in the roster. But bah gawd, he's got spunk and determination. A botched suicide dive scared the hell out of everyone when it seemed that he landed on his head on the apron. But just like every climatic battle, the main character powers through and keeps on fighting.

    Sugod, mga kapatid!

    The Power Mac crowd showed their deep appreciation for the two, giving them the only "Fight forever!" chant of the event. After so many false finishes from both men, the match finally drew to a close, with Bolt managing to even the score in the second confrontation between the two young bucks after rolling up Zayden after an attempted Desole ripcord knee by the Canadian Dragon.

    Ariga-thanks for that match.

    All eyes are on you guys. You deserve it for setting the bar high for your rubber match. We'll be eagerly awaiting.

    Result: Bolt wins via roll-up

    Three Spotlights

    Peter Versoza vs. Joey Bax

    First of all, we need some color in their gear. Both men were wearing black on black. Coupled with the general aesthetic of the venue, this made them look bland.

    The action was there, it was exciting. But it felt like there was no personality coming from either men. Pretty much most of the crowd interaction came from John Sebastian, who came out with Versoza.

    The only appropriate response.

    An important thing to note was the blatant disregard for rules by Versoza and Sebastian, with the referee barely able to do his job. It was an obvious 2-on-1 match, with Bax on the losing end. The referee had numerous opportunities to throw out Sebastian, but stopped short at warning after warning.

    Ultimately, Sebastian would get Versoza the victory by distracting the ref just when Bax looked like he'd knocked P to the V out with The Hit, allowing Versoza to capitalize on the situation with a stolen Castigo Brutal F5—Bax's partner Miguel Rosales' own finisher.

    So much disrespect for your tito.

    The match itself played to a bigger story later on, one that has ramifications that will be felt by the roster. There's a glaring explanation why, and that will be discussed on the Talking Points section below

    Result: Peter Versoza wins via Castigo Brutal

    Vlad Sinnsyk vs. Jake De Leon

    In the rematch of their PHX first round brawl, Vlad Sinnsyk wasted no time getting his hands on Jake De Leon, blindsiding him before the bell even rang. Jake De Leon would eventually manage to make a comeback by countering a Muscle Buster and rolling up a surprised Vlad for the win.

    Sinnsyk was not happy at all. He attacked JDL after the bell, hitting him with two Muscle Busters, one of which was to the apron from the outside. Medical personnel came out to assist Jake De Leon. It was later on reported that the he suffered a herniated disk.

    This is a serious push for Vlad Sinnsyk, who has always been one of the most promising graduates from his batch. It came at a high price though, seeing that Jake De Leon will be out of action for the foreseeable future. Please come back to us safe, Senyorito.

    Result: Jake De Leon wins via roll-up

    Rederick Mahaba vs. Dax Xaviera

    We had another APCC first round rematch here. Mahaba with his partner (his partner, HIS PARTNER) Ralph Imabayashi evened out the score with Dax Xaviera. He did so by avenging his loss with an It's More Slam In the Philippines on an unconscious opponent. 

    Unconscious, you ask? Imabayashi choked him out, you see.
    (Shhhh, kunyari tulog na lang siya)

    Sisig did have a good showing though, having improved since going solo from his Delirium days. In the end, however, it would not be enough. After all, the match was a 2-on-1 from the start. I'm seeing a pattern here...

    Date Night Ralph

    Imabayashi would hit his Senketsu piledriver on Xaviera after the match, but the night was not yet over for all parties involved.

    Result: Rederick Mahaba wins via It's More Slam in the Philippines 

    The Pre-Show (Revo-Ranger vs. Trabajador Quatro, McKata vs. Vintendo)

    Decent showing from the four wrestlers involved. Great way to start off the card, especially with Revo-Ranger really getting into character and Quatro being one of the best Trabajadores that the Council has ever produced. Vintendo is still on the pre-show, but did have a fun match with McKata. The springboard stunner from the second rope by McKata was likely the highlight of the match.

    One thing to note though was when McKata does his intro, he really needs to work on his mic skills. If it's intentional, though, then he needs to ham it up some more.

    Results: Revo-Ranger wins via Revo-Kick, McKata wins via Attitude Adjustment

    Two Spotlights

    Brad Cruz (or is it Chris Panzer) vs. The Apocalypse

    It's a squash match, nothing more than that. It seems highly unlikely that Apocalypse would defend his All Out War Championship every event, so this is a means to keep the guy busy.

    The balls on this guy, though.

    Result: The Apocalypse wins via Six Feet Under

    One Dim Spotlight

    No. Freaking. Burritos.

    Talking Points

    Mr. Sy and the Mysterious Donor

    All right.

    I've been constantly pointing to this section throughout most of the review. A very important reveal was brought up during PWR Live: Sugod, and it was something that can be traced back to last year.

    Remember when Philippine Wrestling Revolution almost folded due to financial troubles? Through the efforts of the roster (through the Revo Show) and a mysterious donor, PWR managed to live on and flourish even more. Mr. Sy found out that said donor was in attendance that day. After asking him or her to stand up and be recognized, John Sebastian cut in (his one-show suspension in effect, notwithstanding) and proceeded to berate Mr. Sy over and over again for repeated slights suffered by Sebastian and others in the back. Well, Mr. Sy had enough and metedthe ultimate punishment on Sebastian: The Wrestling Lord and Savior was actually, really, truly fired.

    Except he wasn't. Because as it turned out, John Sebastian was (dun dun duuuuun) THE MYSTERIOUS DONOR.

    He IS from Ayala Alabang nga naman

    The two decided that it was time for only of them to be truly left standing in the end. Thus, the Ubusan Ng Lahi 5-on-5 Elimination Match was announced for PWR Vendetta this November: Team Sy vs. Team Sebastian.

    With the amount that Sebastian put into PWR, he managed to buy 50% of the company. It wasn't enough to give him the controlling stake, but it was certainly enough for him to sway how certain things work. It was most prevalent during the Versoza/ Bax match, wherein the ref felt the pressure to let the antics of the co-owner slide. The two would later on interfere in the PHX Championship match, giving Madrigal the opening to seal the win. They would also later on attack Mr. Sy and Chris Panzer, who had just won regained his PWR title. To fill their ranks even more, the team of MTNH, who felt that they too have been unfairly treated with match opportunities, joined forces with Sebastian and Versoza. Madrigal may likely be their last man, but no word yet if he's on board.

    I checked with Mr. Sy afterwards. His watch is fine. Thank goodness.

    Mr Sy, on the other hand, has requested the aid of the Fighters 4 Hire (they were attacked right after), SANDATA (declined as of latest development, but was also attacked), and Dax Xaviera (who tried to come to his aid and was also attacked).

    With Chris Panzer (who got laid out pretty bad after his match) acting as team leader, Team Sy seems to have pretty much completed their lineup. Let's hope they don't get attacked again at PWR LIVE: Octoberplex.

    I love this.

    A 5-on-5 match may be the most number of active competitors in a single ring, barring the Path of Gold Tournament. PWR has had so many opportunities in the past with previous storylines, but it has only been now wherein the stakes have been this high for a match to finally come together. Looking at things though, the teams are definitely lopsided. Team Sebastian has three former champs—four if Madrigal sides with them.

    Team Sy, on the other hand, has only one—the current PWR champion. For sure, though, that the match would be a must-see.

    Also, ang galing nung pangalan ng match. Gwapo for sure yung nag-suggest 'nun.

    Like, ehrmehgerd.

    SONA: State of the Network Address

    Enter The Network, luggage in hand, as they proudly announced that they will embark on their very own #NetworkWorldTour. After all, they did just win the PWR Tag Team Championship at APCC.

    First stop, New Orleans.

    Lo and behold, James "Idol" Martinez still does not like Chino Guinto. The Golden Boy remains to be in his boss's bad graces, even after so much has gone good for the Network, Guinto injury notwithstanding. In the middle of all that though, Guinto made his appearance, presumably via FB Live.

    "I'd rather be green than be blue"

    Long story short, Guinto called for unity among The Network. The Network pyramid stands strong when its six spokes stand together: Idol, Alexander Belmonte III, Guinto, Mel from HR, Dindo from Accounting, and us, the loyal fans, make The Network what it is: A force to be reckoned with.

    If you want to know the definition of heartwarming, you look this up. There were threats of disbandment, power-tripping, and credit grabbing, but in the end, the Network stands strongest when they stand together. As it is, the strained relationship between Idol and Guinto is the last remaining hurdle to complete harmony. But Idol's heart is not ice-cold, and if his quickly-wiped-away tears are any indication, he knows deep inside that he also wants to mend the rift between him and his Downline.

    Event Notes

    • There was no 20-minute break between the pre-show and the main card. Great job streamlining the event, given that it's a new venue.
    • Food concessionaires from the previous events were missing. Good thing there were a lot of alternatives within the area.
    • This was a pretty quick event, clocking in at less than four hours.
    • Seriously, mad props to the production and video teams. Everything was great. I especially loved the lighting and the walkout videos. So well-made.
    • Mr. Sy needs a walkout video.
    • Ralph Imabayashi's theme is straight fire.
    • No two two-time champion wrestlers have ever been active together.

    Performance Awards

    Match of the Night: Four-Corner Tag Team Match. Close runner-up would be Bolt vs. Zayden Trudeau.

    Wrestler of the Night: Mike Madrigal

    Kupal ka pa rin.

    Moment of the Night: John Sebastian's reveal as co-owner of PWR


    There you have it, folks. PWR LIVE: Sugod! was an amazing event full of surprises, drama, and good ol' wrestling. So much going on that we will see pan out in the course of the next two shows. There's plenty of time and plenty more of wrestling to go around before the year ends.

    Next up, we have PWR LIVE: Oktoberplex on October 8. No official matches have been announced, but given that it's the show leading up to Vendetta, you can be sure that it's definitely not one to miss.


    Photo credits go to "Honeydew" Hub Pacheco.
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    Item Reviewed: PWR Live: Sugod!—The Official Smark Henry Review Rating: 5 Reviewed By: George Carlos Pastor
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